Of all the position groups on the team, none are as good a friends as the defensive line. A trend started by former Cowboy Jason Ferguson, the Cowboys D-line are not just friends in the trenches, but also off the field as well. That is why it is hard to see a comrade fall, especially in practice. On one of the last plays of yesterdays practice, DE Marcus Spears felt someone role up on his leg and down he went. Spears will likely miss the rest of the preseason and maybe even the first game of the season with a sprained MCL in his knee.
Stepping up for Spears will be 5th year man Jason Hatcher. Hatcher is a better pass rusher than Spears, but is a little smaller and not as effective against the run. The Cowboys are very high on Hatcher and have been looking for a way to get him some more reps and playing time, now they have that chance.
The Cowboys feel that, while Spears is a big loss, the young guys can, and will, step up. “”Marcus Spears is a really solid part of our defense,” Phillips said. “He’s going to be where he’s supposed to be. He’s a smart player and a physical player, so we’ll miss him in the preseason.” Phillips went on to add, “Jason Hatcher needs to play anyway, so it’s a good opportunity for him. That’s what we’re looking forward to, we wanted to see him get some more playing time.”
Whatever happens, the D-Line is one of the deeper positions on the Cowboys, and hopefully they can rally around Hatcher and continue to excel against both the run and get more of a pass rush in the process.